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Dear Boundless Families:

I confess to dragging my butt when it comes to professional duties today. Its almost impossible to be productive when the Eastern Ontario Canadian Shield, in this 600-acre boreal forest running alongside a 24-degree river, is abloom and one can almost stumble upon polka-dotted fawns prancing with the bunnies.

Which is why I became shocked with paralysis when I just saw how hard the English gang is at it. It’s a crime to be penning anything on this day. Yet here these kids are, nose to the grindstone doing some god awful cross-cultural study on oppression. I didn’t hang around long enough to actually figure out what they were doing, so put off I was by their professionalism.

Jimmy sums up their lifestyle in a sentence – study, swim, volleyball or anything to do with a ball, back to study. Then scream at sunset just when Steven is trying to wind down. Thanks, Jim. Payback is tomorrow when I teach your class.

How they suffer, those English kids. Last night they hiked to our lookout for a poetry session. Today I thought I walked into a country club, so adult they were as they dined on lunch. Not devouring. Not feasting. Not rabble-rousing. Not overreaching. Dining!

“What’s wrong with you people?’, I cry. James, a Nobel Prize nominee for kindness, retorts,

“Excuse me, we are trying to eat”.

“I’m calling your parents to tell them what a rotten child you are.”

“Go head, he deadpans, they would appreciate knowing that”.

Speaking of rotten kids, how about the OE crew?

This group, all 12 of them, needs to be taken to the nearby emergency ward and locked away because of acute Hyper-Fun Disorder.

I blame Enock, our International student. This young man’s smile is brighter than the Northern lights Emma (Yellowknife gal) brags that she sees every night back home. It is impossible to be cynical about anything in Enock’s presence. His heart is the essence of purity. Until you hear his wry wit, which he is beginning to let loose.

But he is not alone in his positivity. There’s Hope, that darn Hope that draws everyone together. “Just tell me when I talk too much,” she confides to Stranger. Hope, you do not talk too much.

This group absolutely loves each other. So much so that it makes us look over our shoulder what the heck is going on.

They are even open-hearted this old man. I came by this morning while they were swinging on our ropes course like carefree youngling primates, and I accosted 4 of them during a break. I tried to teach them the 7-part whitewater handshake, bestowed to me by a deity way back before I flunked out of superhero training.

Nathan was the first to master it. Took him three seconds. The other three mastered it just by watching. Reflecting on how absurd a notion it would be for me to learn anything that adds up to seven so quickly, I blurt out,

“I really can’t stand the neuroplasticity of your teen brains”.

Every human being in both groups has found a comfortable place in their tribes. There is joy everywhere. I am like the old Maytag repairman commercial, waiting for troubling phone calls that don’t come.

I better not have jinxed it.

It’s glorious up here. Hope it’s the same wherever you are.

Warm regards,

Steven Gottlieb